§ 3.3 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy (Baroness Hooper)
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Baroness Hooper.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The PRINCIPAL DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES in the Chair.]
§ Clause 62 agreed to.
§ Clause 63 [Transfer of property etc. of Generating Board and Electricity Council]:
Lord Williams of Elvel moved Amendment No. 224H:
Page 47, line 24, after ("scheme") insert ("in such terms as the Secretary of State may direct (with particular reference to companies designated under paragraph (aa) and section 64(1)(b) below)").
§ The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, it may be for the convenience of the Committee if I speak also to Amendments Nos. 226ZA and 228AA, both standing in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury.
§ We have now embarked on the second part of the Bill which deals with the restructuring of the industry 11 prior to flotation. It is the burden of my amendment that, in the last resort, the Secretary of State should be the one who decides which bits of the generating board—indeed, which bits of any organisation—go where. As I understand it, there is in the Bill as drafted only a requirement for the generating board to be directed by the Secretary of State to make a scheme for the division of all its property, rights and liabilities between the companies specified in Clause 63. It is our view that the Secretary of State should have the final say, not only in directing the generating board to make a scheme, but in saying what that scheme should contain.
§ That point is particularly important when we come to the amendments in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. If the nuclear industry is to be separated from the other parts of the generating industry, it seems abolutely essential that the Secretary of State should be able to decide which parts go into the new company, both in England and Wales, if that is what the Committee decides, and in Scotland, which is already in the Bill. We must have an assurance that if public control of the nuclear industry is to be maintained after the passage of the Bill, the Secretary of State will decide the limits of that public control. That is why the amendment that I am moving is grouped with amendments in the names of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, and others.
§ At this stage I do not want to go into the reasons for the noble Earl moving and speaking to his amendments. He is perfectly able to do that. I simply say that I personally—and, I think, my party—should have preferred the nuclear industry to be kept in toto in the public sector. Nevertheless, the noble Earl has put down an amendment which envisages what I should call the BP solution where 49 per cent. of the nuclear industry can be sold off to the public, should that be appropriate.
§ However, the noble Earl and I are at one in thinking that the nuclear industry needs to be kept in public control for two reasons. First, there is still widespread disquiet about the future of nuclear power. I do not believe that any noble Lord in this Committee would disagree with that comment. Secondly, I should point to the US experience. There, with a private industry operating under a very strict regulatory regime and because of environmentalist arguments, no new nuclear power stations have been commissioned in the past 10 years. Whether one is pro or anti nuclear power, it seems to me very odd that the Government are now leading us into what is potentially a US situation where the regulatory regime and the environmental lobbies are so suspicious of private industry that they will not allow those things to go ahead.
§ The reason we have some degree of rationality in our approach to new power stations and the inquiries that go with plans for new power stations is that the proposals are put forward and operated by the CEGB which is a public body. I believe that there is general public confidence that the CEGB will act in the public interest. I do not believe that there will be any such confidence when the industry is privatised.12
§ I should have thought that the Government could easily accept this amendment. The concept has been ventilated quite widely in the press and was discussed in another place. Given—if I may put it in this way—some of the results that we have heard over the weekend about the strong environmental interest expressed up and down the country, I believe that, at this stage, the Government would do well to accept the amendment. I beg to move.
The Earl of Halsbury
In speaking to Amendments Nos. 226ZA and 228AA to which the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, referred, perhaps I may draw the Committee's attention to the quality of the support that I have enlisted for the amendments. The noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil, was once Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power: it cannot be supposed that he is ignorant of what the amendment stands for. The noble Lord, Lord Ezra, was once chairman of the National Coal Board: it cannot be supposed that he is ignorant of the implications of competition between fossil and nuclear fuels. Lastly, the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, who has just spoken, brings to our debates his usual clarity and distinction from the Opposition Front Bench.
Against me I have the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper, who knows very well that I hold her in the highest esteem. It is with regret that I am speaking to what the Government must consider to be a wrecking amendment at a time when she must inevitably be tired after a long, protracted Committee stage in very hot weather. If, as a result, the consequential amendments are so long drawn out that the Bill is lost for this Session, I can only say from my own point of view that that is just too bad. I want to get the answers right, not get the answers quickly.
As for myself, I have had a finger in many a nuclear pie for 51 years since 1938, when Hahn and Strassman, confirmed by Leise Meitner, established that Enrico Firmi had put the wrong interpretation on his attempts to synthesise trans-Uranic elements and that what was really going on what was what we now call nuclear fission. Niels Bohr distinguished between Uranium 238 and Uranium 235 and Curie-Joliot took out the first patent on a nuclear reactor.
All that happened between the end of November 1938 and the spring of 1939 and was published to all and sundry. By the summer of 1940, Her Majesty's Government accepted that a bomb might be feasible. At about that time I was discussing with Professor James Chadwick of Liverpool University—later to become Sir James Chadwick, Master of Gonville and Caius—what the bomb's critical size might be. Would it be a pin's head or something the size of the Queen Elizabeth? No one could tell initially. The critical parameters were measured quite quickly by Sir Rudolf Peirles who told me that the bomb was "this size", cupping his two hands together.
I shall not continue to bore the Committee with my curriculum vitae in this field; part of it is in Who's Who, part in Hansard, part in the proceedings of Sub-Committee F and in various board papers concerned with the manufacture of nuclear power 13 stations. Why am I taking the lead at this point? Before the Bill ever was, the Secretary of State sought my opinion on how to privatise electricity. I went along with what he was believed to have in mind, bar one particular. I wanted to see two equally sized fossil fuel corporations with one nuclear corporation in which the Government would have a controlling share—the so-called BP model. By contrast his solution was to fuse one nuclear power corporation with the larger of two fossil fuel corporations, leaving the smaller of the two to compete on disadvantageous terms.
I do not agree with that and my amendments give expression to my disagreement. The Committee may ask why. It is because there are too many forward unknowns with respect to nuclear power to make it a normal business risk. At this point in time if it is not a normal risk then the Governnment should not subsidise it out of fossil fuel but accept their responsibility to finance it until it comes of age. Does it come of age after 51 years? Yes, indeed.
Let us look at some of the unknowns. Torness and Heysham B have just very successfully come on stream. I learnt that Torness is now delivering 102 per cent. of its rated power to the grid. Its projected life is 30 years at 100 per cent. load factor or 40 years at 75 per cent. load factor, which is regarded as a good performance over the life of the station. Perhaps I may remind the Committee that 40 years is also the timespan of one professional career. By the time that Torness and Heysham are ready to be decommissioned all those who designed them and brought them on stream will have retired or may not even be alive.
What will happen then? Let us consider Flixborough and Bhopal, which were two chemical explosions, and Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which were two nuclear explosions. Every one of those accidents was due to a plant operator intermeddling with the design without consulting the designer, who was bypassed. In 40 years' time there will be no designer left to consult and a new generation at the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. The plant operators themselves will have to decommission the stations, possibly after stretching the lives of the stations a little further.
What form will the NII take in 40 years' time? That will depend upon the quality of its recruitment now. I cannot overemphasise the importance of the challenge-response situation—the syndrome which recruits the very best quality for a challenge that has to be met. It has to be maintained over a long period. A sleepy bureaucracy will not recruit the very best.
Then again we have to think of the future role of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and the National Nuclear Corporation which are not provided for in this Bill. The National Nuclear Corporation is the design agency for future stations. It is a monopoly once split between the General Electric Company and Her Majesty's Government but now wholly General Electric based. The GEC basically is uninterested in nuclear boilers because it is not a boilermaker. It is interested only in selling turbo-generators, transformers and switchgear. It suits it well to subordinate itself to 14 Westinghouse-Bechtel designs as modified by the NII. So we have lost all initiative for the future. Is that what is called competition?
In case it might be thought that I was being over-critical, GEC is one of the best managed commercial concerns in industry but is the worst served scientifically. Over years long past it has lent out to usury its huge cash flow instead of spending it on research. Now in the toils it is trying to buy Plessey, which has done the research which it has not done and taken the risks that it did not take. Is GEC the agency to have the monopoly of nuclear power station design for the next 40 years? I ask the Committee that question. The Bill gives no answer.
Let us consider the future of British Nuclear Fuels. Its costs in respect of fuel preparation and spent fuel reprocessing are part of the cost of electricity generation. BNF is another government monopoly and the CEGB is already jibbing at paying for it and proposing dry storage, which will save the cost of reprocessing and leave nuclear sewage to be reprocessed by our children and grandchildren.
The recent leakage, via a straw periodical, to the Observer newspaper is typical of the in-fighting going on between the CEGB and the Government. The situation is as fraught with intrigue as a nightingale's egg is pregnant with song. Of course the CEGB, with crocodile tears in its eyes, cannot imagine how the leak happened, but as Mandy Rice-Davies said on a famous occasion in the past: It would say that, wouldn't it?
Then there is the cost of preparing bunker storage for all classes of nuclear waste. The Swedes and the French do it; the Japanese do not because they send the waste to this country and we send it back again. But the political in-fighting between central and local government in the context of planning inquiries adds yet another unknown which prevents the whole being a business proposition with NIREX and all that unprovided for.
The next unknown is the future of the fast reactor, without which nuclear power cannot come of age. The creeping philistinism of the Government now proposes to chisel on Dounreay because of its long-term character. Yet one cannot do accelerated ageing tests on materials. Both the Dounreay fast reactor and the prototype fast reactor were or are materials testing or design proving reactors. The PFR is achieving uniquely high burn-up rates compared with anything else in the world. We need to go on proving the long-term reliability of components and designs until the day when the design factor can be stretched by a factor of three, according to the late Lord Hinton—though others may go for six, which he thought was too large a jump.
Suppose we accept the ACOST recommendation that nuclear power cannot yet stand on its own feet. I reply: "Then let it get a recognised government subvention until it can, rather than be parasitic upon fossil fuel power. Fossil fuel based stations have their own problems to face—pollution and all that of one kind, where nuclear faces pollution of another kind. Do not land them with the unsolved problems of commercialised nuclear power".
15 I have studied the ACOST report with interest. Of its 19 signatories fewer than half have any connection with the manufacturing industry and fewer than half of those have any connection with the nuclear industry at all. Its prognosis of manufacturable exports is pure pie in the sky.
Let me say a few last words on what I have called "creeping philistinism" related to the tendency to fall down flat and worship the Baal of competition. I have no doubt that competition is a good means, but as such it is not an end. I have no doubt that competition between brothel-keepers would cheapen the price of their services to the patrons and get better productivity out of the girls, but that does not establish brothels as a good thing to have. As I say, competition is a means and not an end.
The problems arising out of this Bill are the inescapable involvement of Her Majesty's Government in power generation with NRI, NIREX and BNF. Intrinsically they are involved with the latter. They cannot abdicate all responsibility for the former. They cannot ask everybody else to take responsibilities in life and then abdicate their own.
I shall not rehearse my view that the decision to back the PWR was a strategic mistake. I have said it many times before and shall not waste the time of the Committee in saying it again. We are stuck with its consequences, and so are the Government. They must not—I repeat not—duck those responsibilities.
§ Lord Ezra
I should like to support the amendment which has been so ably spoken to by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. I must say that I am among those who were extremely surprised when the Government's proposals for the privatisation of the electricity industry emerged to note that they did not separate off nuclear power. In fact as so often happens, they do these things better in Scotland. There the nuclear stations have been separated off—leaving aside the question of ownership to which I shall come in a moment.
Many institutions still involved in the nuclear sector are publicly owned. The nuclear sector raises many issues which the conventional power stations do not raise. I think therefore that it is entirely wrong that the nuclear station should be put together with one of the two generating stations. In my opinion it is illogical to put it with just one of the two generating stations. If the Government were serious about the competitive aspects, they would surely have divided up the nuclear sector as they have the conventional. But to put all the nuclear stations with one of the generating organisations seems illogical and unwise.
There are a vast number of issues still to be solved on the nuclear front. There are such questions as the disposal of waste, the various processes for generating nuclear power, the dire consequences should there be emissions from these stations, and so on. They raise questions of a totally different order from conventional stations. I believe very strongly therefore that the Government should think again and should separate off the nuclear stations from the conventional. They should set up a separate company for that purpose as is the case in Scotland.
16 I think it highly desirable that as an interim step the Government should retain 51 per cent. in this area of our activities that still faces so many problems.
§ Lord Peyton of Yeovil
I should like very much to support as warmly as I can the amendment spoken to by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. Competition is the main thrust of the Government in this Bill. I have always believed that the aims of the electricity supply industry should be—and I give them no particular order—security, safety and cheapness. In the disturbance which the Government's proposals are bound to inflict upon the industry, I fear that, despite the Government's declared intentions to the contrary, competition may be such a primary force so far as concerns the legislation that safety and security will tend to be pushed out of the prime position which they should occupy.
As the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, has reminded us, there are a vast number of issues still to be dealt with. I believe that there are far too many unknowns, that there have been far too many disappointments in the past, and that we have as yet too little experience to thrust this comparatively new section of a highly complex sophisticated industry into the general shake-up that is now contemplated.
I should like to ask my noble friend one or two questions to which I should greatly value a reply. At this stage are the Government able to say with any certainty whether they would regard the ownership of the nuclear stations as a source of financial embarrassment or as a burden? The Select Committee of another place raised the question of the structure proposed for the industry and had an interesting comment which I should like to read to Members of the Committee concerning the solution proposed for nuclear:As regards the structural solutions for generation proposed by the Government in both England and Wales and in Scotland, the Committee is strongly of the view that the nuclear pre-occupations of the Government have played a dominant part in its thinking, so much so that the nuclear tail seems to be wagging the ESI dog".I fully share that fear and anxiety. I do not know what information, if any, we have as yet available as to what will be the sale price of the nuclear stations. That will be an all-important factor in the balance between the two sides of the industry.
I was curious to find that in paragraph 50 of the Government's reply to the Select Committee there are the words:National Power will be required to account separately for its nuclear generating costs".If the Government recognise, as they clearly did in coming to the view that it would be impossible to merge the two, why did they not find it possible to take a further step and accept the need for separation, at least for the time being?
Finally, like the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, in a more general context than that of the nuclear stations, I wonder why the Government are adopting such a different line in Scotland from that in England and Wales. I believe that the line adopted for Scotland is right. I believe that the line adopted for England and Wales is wrong and full of dangers and risks. I always fear on these occasions that so much water 17 has flowed over the dam that the Government's position has become set in concrete. Yet I believe that they would be well advised to consider again most seriously all the risks and uncertainties that are involved in the reorganisation of an immense and vitally important industry, and to see that those risks should be kept to a minimum by not involving the ordinary conventional generation sector with the added uncertainties and risks that are attendant upon nuclear.
§ Baroness Hooper
It may be helpful to the Committee if I intervene at this stage. I shall be very happy to speak again at the end of the debate if it is so wished. Perhaps I should establish, as I understand it, that the only amendment moved is Amendment No. 224H and that we are speaking to the grouping which includes Amendments Nos. 226ZA and 228AA.
Strong feelings have been aired and powerful arguments advanced by the movers of this amendment. All speak from concern and experience, but perhaps none more so than the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. I am most grateful to him for giving me notice of the line that he intended to take today. He speaks from a base of much experience in the nuclear industry and a strong concern to ensure its future.
It was stated clearly in our manifesto that we are committed to maintaining a nuclear programme. We believe in the need for diversity of supply to ensure security of supply and here we echo your Lordships' Select Committee on Science and Technology. In its sub-committee's report on research and development in nuclear power, it said:the present abundance of energy is unlikely to last. There is no adequate alternative to fossil fuels other than nuclear energy. The United Kingdom must therefore retain the capability to develop and expand its nuclear power industry, in the most cost-effective way, taking full account of public concern over the impact of the nuclear programme on health and the environment, where possible in collaboration with agencies in other countries".These are sentiments which the Government whole-heartedly share. Not only do we believe that nuclear power has a future in the private sector but that it has a better future than if it were to remain in the public sector. Germany and Belgium have safe and successful private sector nuclear industries. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, has a less happy record in spite of having a public sector industry.
The White Paper Privatising Electricity made it clear that one of the major benefits of privatisation is to free the electricity industry from government intervention in its day-to-day management. It is a matter of record that succesive governments have interfered, for good reasons or bad, in the running of the electricity industry. Nowhere is this more apparent than on nuclear policy. The high cost of reprocessing Magnox fuel stems from the early choice by government of a first generation of nuclear reactors which operated on natural uranium. The problems that the CEGB has faced in the construction and running of its AGRs stem from government-influenced decisions in spite of opposition from the industry on the choice of an unproven novel reactor type. I would say to those who have argued in favour of AGRs that we recognise that Heysham and Torness are now 18 proving that AGRs can work although they are still a more expensive option, but that evidence was not available when the decision was taken to pursue the PWR route of well proven technology which was opened to us, I might add, by a decision of a previous Labour Administration.
It is a fact of life that financing the needs of nationalised industries counts as public expenditure. This means that the investment needs of the electricity industry have in the past had to compete with other government priorities. This is no more sensible for the nuclear power industry than for any other of the industries we have privatised or are in the process of privatising.
We propose that such intervention in the future should be strictly limited. But we have safeguarded a future for nuclear power by our proposal for a non-fossil fuel obligation. This will place a duty on the public electricity supply companies to contract for nuclear or other non-fossil capacity.
As well as the removal of government intervention, privatisation of nuclear power will mean that National Power will be exposed to the rigours of the commercial financial market in raising money to fund the construction of new stations. This will expose National Power to yet another need to demonstrate that it can carry out such projects competently and efficiently. That must be beneficial.
Further, although we are now able to realise the full cost of nuclear power, it may not always be more expensive than fossil-generated power. We are now becoming aware of the full environmental effect of burning fossil fuels. Nuclear power can become the generation source of choice. If we were to retain nuclear power in the public sector—subject to expenditure controls which are more to do with the Government's economic policies than the specific needs of the industry—it would be unlikely to be as dynamic and responsive as a private sector company has to be.
These are all good reasons for privatising nuclear power with the rest of the electricity industry. But it has been argued today that because of some problems and uncertainties we should retain the nuclear element in the public sector. I assure the Committee that the Government do not underestimate the complexity of privatising the nuclear industry. Indeed, there are three clauses and a schedule in the Bill to deal with it, and we have given a great deal of consideration to the issue. We have had wide consultations with all parts of the industry—with BNFL with regard to the vital issues of reprocessing and with our privatisation advisers and with the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate on the important question of safety. We are confident that the framework we are setting up in this Bill will ensure a long and successful future for nuclear power in the private sector for the following very good reasons.
First, in splitting the CEGB into the two successor generating companies, we decided to allot all the existing nuclear power stations to National Power, which will then own 70 per cent. of the CEGB's generating capacity, as has been said. National Power will be a massive company, one of the 10 largest in the country, with assets of nearly £20 billion on a current cost basis and turnover of around 19 £5 billion. National Power will retain the CEGB's nuclear expertise and the experience of staff currently designing, building and operating the CEGB's nuclear power stations—an important point made by the noble Earl. This decision will ensure continuity and maintain the high standards that have been achieved in the running of the existing nuclear programme, standards which have been recognised in today's discussions. National Power will own the PWR currently under construction at Sizewell and, subject to receiving consent and planning approval, intends to build a further PWR at Hinkley Point. Planning applications have been received for two further PWR stations, Wylfa B and Sizewell C. In order to meet the non-fossil fuel obligation, given the fact that Magnox stations are coming to the end of their planned lives, the public electricity supply companies will need to place contracts with National Power for these new stations as well as for existing ones and there will be long-term contracts to that effect.
Last Thursday we discussed the non-fossil fuel obligation on the public electricity supply companies which will give National Power the confidence it needs to build and operate nuclear stations, some of which are likely to provide power for up to 50 years from now. There are many companies which would like to have a similar security.
I also explained on Thursday our proposals for the fossil-fuel levy. This will ensure that the public electricity supply companies themselves can feel happy in contracting for nuclear power over a long period, since any additional cost that falls to them compared with the price of alternative generating capacity can be shared among all electricity customers, who, after all, all benefit from the security of supply.
The proposals I have outlined so far deal with the issue of the present cost of nuclear power. However, the noble Earl and others have referred to future unknowns and have expressed concerns about the uncertainties in costs of nuclear power. The Government have considered these issues very carefully.
It is one of the features of the nuclear industry that many of its costs occur long after the related electricity has been generated. Nuclear fuel needs to be reprocessed. The resulting wastes need to be treated and eventually disposed of. Nuclear plant has to be decommissioned after it reaches the end of its life. Some of these costs are very long term. For example, disposal of vitrified high level waste will not take place until after it has been stored for up to 50 years. The final decommissioning of nuclear power stations may well not take place until 100 years after the station has closed. All of these areas are quite rightly subject to stringent safety and environmental regulatory systems which may well become more stringent over the years given the long periods involved. Furthermore, some costs cannot yet be determined with any precision. As the noble Earl said, some decisions about the final disposal of nuclear waste have still to be taken. To date provision has been made based on estimates of 20 these costs which are charged to customers in their electricity bills. But these bills clearly cannot take into account unforeseen future cost increases.
While the nuclear industry was in the public sector, the Government ultimately stood behind any unforeseen cost increase. That is the burden of the amendments. We believe that it would be right, therefore, in certain circumstances after privatisation for the Government to assist the industry by contributing towards such cost increases. Again we have to look at the Bill as a whole. We shall be debating Clause 93 and Schedule 12 on another day, but these provisions will permit the Government to contribute to costs associated with reprocessing, waste treatment and disposal, and the decommissioning of nuclear plant. We must look very carefully at this area to see whether we can give greater certainty to the investor and the public that the Government will meet their side of the deal. Therefore, at Report stage we intend to table an amendment to Schedule 12 to enable the Secretary of State to enter into binding commitments in this respect.
By sharing risk in that way in areas which are not subject to the control of the nuclear operators we believe that it is possible to give appropriate assurance to potential investors that National Power's profits will not be wiped out by factors outside its control while permitting the company to enter into contracts which create incentives to good management and cost control in the areas which are controllable.
I trust that that assurance will be welcome for the future of the nuclear industry. I believe that it responds to the question raised by my noble friend Lord Peyton as to whether the reason for nuclear being transferred to the private sector was that it would cause financial embarrassment or be a burden to the Government—
§ Lord Peyton of Yeovil
I am sorry to intervene but I am anxious that my noble friend should understand what I attempted to say. I was asking whether the Government regard the future ownership of the nuclear industry by the private sector as a source of advantage or as a burden.
§ Baroness Hooper
I hope that what I have already said will show clearly that we see it as an advantage.
There has been much mention of BNFL. This risk-sharing approach means that BNFL can offer effectively fixed prices. This provides incentives to good performance, and so costs in this area will be kept under control in the future. Negotiations are now going on to this end.
By targeting the particular areas of nuclear risk, it will be possible for National Power to have a secure financial future with the prospect of proper commercial pressures and incentives to encourage cost control and profitability.
I have spoken at some length on this and other amendments in the group, but it is an important subject and strikes at the heart of the Government's policy for the future of the nuclear generating business in this country. I hope that I have been able 21 to convince anyone in doubt that what we envisage as a result of this Bill is an efficient nuclear power industry with a long-term future in the private sector but adequately and closely regulated by government in relation in particular to safety and the environment. We are willing to provide government backup and support for R&D as previously stated and for unforeseen back-end liabilities. We believe that the nuclear industry will continue to provide, as it has in the past, a major contribution to energy supply and the security of that supply in this country.
For those reasons I hope that Members of the Committee will reject the amendment. If in the course of further debate other questions arise I shall endeavour to answer them.
§ Lord Williams of Elvel
The noble Baroness has been kind in giving the Committee the benefit of the Government's views. Of course, they are exactly as the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, expressed—set in concrete. She has disregarded the arguments put forward by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, and the noble Lords, Lord Ezra and Lord Peyton. That is apart from saying that the Government will introduce an amendment to Schedule 12 which will protect the profits of National Power. Protecting the profits of National Power was not the objective of my amendment, nor, I believe, that of the noble Earl's.
It is absolutely clear that we have met a complete stone wall. The noble Baroness has not even spoken to my amendment which requires the Secretary of State to have the power to determine what shall be in any particular scheme. I believe that there is no point in the Committee continuing with the debate and I seek to test its opinion on my amendment. I beg to move.
§ Lord Erroll of Hale
Before the noble Lord tests the opinion of the Committee perhaps he will allow other Members the opportunity to give their views.
§ Lord Erroll of Hale
I know that several Members on this side of the Committee support the Government as do I. I should like to thank the Minister for giving those assurances this afternoon. They go a long way towards removing many of the doubts of a financial nature which were previously expressed. As regards the other so-called "unknowns" of a technical nature—
§ Lord Erroll of Hale
I shall go on. Apparently the noble Lord does not wish to intervene at this stage and so I shall continue. My noble friend Lord Peyton referred to a "vast number of unknowns". That is going a little far. There are a certain number of unknowns but I believe that they are containable. I believe that previous speakers tended to over-emphasise the difference between nuclear and conventional power stations.
22 Twenty-five years ago, when my noble friend Lord Peyton and I were ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Power, the industry was in its infancy. Today it is well established and well understood. The differences between nuclear and conventional generation are over-emphasised. The only difference—and admittedly it is a big difference—is the source of heat to provide steam for driving the turbine generators. In conventional stations the heat source is coal or oil-fired boilers. In nuclear stations it is the "nuclear island", as it is called. The rest of the nuclear station consists of conventional mechanical and electrical engineering. Indeed, it is the major part—turbines, generators, transformers, switching and control systems.
Separation of the two forms would result in two separate cultures: the still nationalised nuclear sector and the much larger private sector. I believe that that would be particularly harmful. It would create a number of disadvantages for the supply industry as a whole were it to be supplied by two widely differing cultures. For example, the staff in nuclear stations would continue much as at present but would be deprived of the more invigorating climate of a private culture. Engineers could not easily be promoted from one area to the other. A few nuclear island specialists might remain in a class of their own in any event. The pay and pension conditions would become increasingly different and the nuclear stations would have difficulty in attracting qualified staff for conventional management and technical posts.
As regards the exchange of technology, the nuclear sector would not have informal access to technological developments and research carried out by the private sector and would fall behind. In the construction of new nuclear and conventional stations suppliers would be faced with two different sets of specifications, progressing systems, and payment or non-payment terms. With a single private purchaser, such as is envisaged, those could be streamlined and standardised for the great benefit of the components industry.
The construction of the nuclear island, as distinct from its operation, is also not a special case. The specification, progress reporting to reduce delays, and inspection are likely to be more rigorous and practical in private hands. An important part of construction is cost overruns. They happen in conventional stations but are worse in nuclear. A private customer would be much more vigilant than a nationalised customer. The latter would have little incentive to improve its methods and would be denied the benefits of evolving experience being gained in the private conventional field.
Naturally, the subject of safety is much mentioned. It is fallacy to suppose that a nuclear island would be in safer hands if constructed and operated by a nationalised body. For example, the safety record of the privatised British Airways is the answer to all that. In any case, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate is strong and powerful. It would not permit the cutting of corners were that to be attempted. At the same time, the NII would gain from contact with the more vigorous and more 23 business-like approach of the private customer and the private operator.
The philosophy behind this Bill is that privatisation will improve the efficiency of the whole electricity supply industry. The nuclear sector should not be denied that great opportunity to improve itself. Given that the financial burden is to be faced up to by the Government in the amendments to be proposed, for which I thank the noble Baroness very much indeed, I hope that we shall be able to reject this amendment.
§ Lord Renton
I was at the Ministry of Power when the decision was taken to have a nuclear power station industry at all. That was 33 years ago. We were faced with all kinds of uncertainties. We did not know how long the fuel elements, which were costly, would last. We did not know how long the reactors would last, and therefore we could not assess the length of life of the reactors upon which the cost depended. We did not know, although some thought had been given to it, how much it would cost and what uncertainties there would be in disposing of the nuclear waste, of which we have quite rightly heard a good deal today. If we had been deterred by those various uncertainties, we would not have a nuclear power industry today at all.
I say to those Members of the Committee who have supported the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, and who have spoken from their experience that we should legislate to give opportunities and not merely to follow the respected, established practices. If we are never going to allow experiment to take place—and my noble friend Lord Peyton seemed to be against experiment because he said that we have had too little experience and too few experiments to go on with this extension of nuclear power—we shall not get anywhere. I believe that the Government are absolutely right to be embarking on the privatisation of the industry in the way in which they are by still giving the state sector a nuclear power opportunity but also making it possible for experiment by private industry.
§ Lord Gray of Contin
I believe that we all appreciate the contribution made during the afternoon by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. I am among those who used to read his speeches on energy matters long before I came to this Chamber. When he is talking on his own subject, on the technicalities of physics and nuclear power, he has no equal.
However, I suggest that perhaps he does not have a monopoly of wisdom when it comes to deciding how the nuclear industry should be administered in the future. I am afraid that I take issue with him in a number of ways. We all know that the Bill which this Committee is considering at present is basically about privatisation. It is about privatisation of the electricity industry, and that includes all types of power generation. I do not believe that anybody has ever been in any doubt about that.
With the greatest respect, perhaps I may suggest to the noble Earl that many of the arguments which he put forward this afternoon were excellent arguments for doing just what the Government are 24 seeking to do in privatising the electricity industry; that is, opening up new approaches and getting rid of government interference, which most privatisation Bills have been about. Like my noble friend Lord Renton, I also served in the Department of Energy for a period of time and I suppose that I was one of those Ministers who could be accused of poking his nose into such matters. I take the view that the more that Ministers are kept out of decisions affecting power generation, the better.
All we have to do is to look briefly at the history since the war of successive governments thinking that they knew better than the experts as to how power should be generated. There is a sad history of nuclear power in this country. There was a ping-pong of decision-making which took place from the advanced gas-cooled reactor through the steam generated heavy water reactor, which was a popular favourite for a few years, to the pressurised water reactor, and on the way ditching—I am very sad about this—the fast breeder reactor which many of us who studied the subject felt offered the greatest potential of all for power generation in this country.
What did the good people of Dounreay gain from the fact that the Government had the last say in the production of a fast breeder reactor? It is an area of the country which welcomed with open arms the prototype fast reactor which a previous Conservative Government had decided to locate there. Those people ignored all the warnings and the vitriol which was spread by some who have now achieved a degree of acceptability—I refer to the Friends of the Earth, the Greens and lots of others. If their predictions had come true we should all be cinders by now. However, the people of Caithness did not take that view. They said: "Yes, we are prepared to give it a try". Give it a try they did and a very successful try it was.
What benefit has it been to them for the public sector to have been the ultimate judge in deciding whether the fast breeder reactor should go ahead? Let us look further at the tragedies which have taken place; for example, the Hartlepool power station took some 19 years to build and Dungeness B even beat that record and took 20 years. No private industry could possibly survive such cost or time overrun. That is one reason why it is essential that in future it is the private sector which controls and administers nuclear power, just as it now does other forms of power generation.
§ Lord Ezra
May I ask the noble Lord, with his great knowledge of Scottish affairs, whether he supports the proposition in the Bill that there should be a separate nuclear power company for Scotland, leaving aside the question of ownership? If he agrees with that, does he believe that a similar arrangement should be made in England and Wales?
§ Lord Gray of Contin
The noble Lord, with whom I have had many dealings over the years, is as aware as I am that the whole structure in Scotland is different to that in England and Wales. Scotland has always had a vertical structure as regards the south and north electricity boards. That was a logical progression. I congratulate the Government on their 25 wisdom in maintaining and retaining the differences which exist between Scotland and England not only as regards power generation but also on other aspects of the Bill.
The privatisation which we are considering today will mean that regulation will be further separated from operation. Again that must be a satisfactory move forward. Indeed, the Labour Party, which is associated with this group of amendments, is quite inconsistent in arguing that powers should be separated in the oil and gas industries but must be combined in the nuclear industry. It seems to me that that is an argument of convenience rather than merit. If we look at the private sector and its attitude to the construction of power stations in the future, it seems to be suggested in some quarters that that will be the end of large power station construction. It will not necessarily be the end of large power station construction but it will open the way for the construction of more small power stations than we have seen until now. Rolls-Royce is only one of the many companies which has expressed an interest in this matter.
Diversity is very important because the Bill seeks to ensure that there will be diversity of power; that we will never again become dependent solely upon one type of power. Our experience with the coal industry, which has been threatened three times in the past 20 years, is as good an argument as any for diversification. For the major contribution to diversification we must look to the nuclear industry. Nearly 20 per cent. of power generation comes from nuclear power. In Scotland in excess of two-thirds of power generation is from nuclear power. Therefore we are talking about a form of generation which is vitally important for the future of the industry.
I can see no good reason why the whole question of nuclear power being a part of the private sector rather than the public sector should create apprehension. What is important is that safety in the industry is properly regulated. I do not think that anyone in this Committee is suggesting that our form of regulation of the nuclear industry until now has not been highly successful. We speak of Chernobyl, but the plain fact of the matter is that the type of reactor used there would never have been accepted in this country at the outset. It would never have been built in this country. Our nuclear industry is a magnificent industry with a splendid record. It will go from strength to strength, but preferably in the private sector.
§ 4 P.m.
§ Baroness Gardner of Parkes
I oppose these amendments. I consider them to be wrecking amendments. If one supports privatisation of electricity, as I do, then there is no way that one could accept these amendments. It is unfortunate however, that there is such a mixture of Members of the Committee supporting the amendment. I believe that their motives are entirely different.
I have the greatest regard for the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. I shall never forget the day when we were going to see the station at Dounreay. We were 26 fog-bound. We had the most marvellous teach-in at Gatwick Airport on nuclear energy from the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. That made the matter so very much more clear to us that when we arrived at Dounreay we were able to follow what was being explained. I know that the motives of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, in moving this amendment are that he has a high regard for nuclear energy and for its future. I do not feel the same in relation to the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel. I think his motives are purely that he thinks that these amendments would be effective in wrecking the Bill. I believe that they would wreck the Bill and for that reason I strongly oppose them.
However, I should like to take issue with one comment made by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. He raised the problem of what would happen in 40 years' time. Forty years could be the length of a working man's life. A man who designs something might not be around 40 years later if we want to seek his knowledge. That has applied throughout history. People can never be relied upon to be available for one moment, much less for 40 years. Whatever major project is being undertaken in this country or anywhere else in the world it must be done to plans and provisions must be made. We are not a nation which is unable to communicate to the next generation. The most brilliant designer could be killed in an accident. I am unable to accept the noble Earl's argument that there is any problem on lack of continuity with regard to a specific person. I do not understand why the nuclear industry would be safer in government hands than in any other hands. There must be the same interest in establishing continuity of safety.
It is worth pointing out that Clause 93 will allow the government of the day to make any necessary contributions associated with changes in re-processing waste or disposal or de-commissioning a nuclear plant. De-commissioning is the one element that applies specifically to nuclear power as opposed to other forms of power. It is the long-term effects of de-commissioning and the time that it takes, of which we are all aware in this Committee and wish to consider very seriously.
I oppose this amendment and ask the Committee not to support it.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
We have not had a spokesman from the Labour Back Benches—unless the noble Earl wishes to intervene.
The Earl of Halsbury
I should like to emphasise to the noble Baroness that there is no difficulty in communicating with the next generation. Our problem is to recruit good members in exciting circumstances.
§ Lord Stoddart of Swindon
I have listened to the arguments with great interest. The whole matter transcends the issue of party politics. The very nature of the names appended to the amendments indicates that that is so. We must get one point straight.
27 When the noble Baroness intervened earlier in the debate she sought to show that public ownership was bad and unsafe and that private ownership was not. She instanced Germany and Belgium as examples of private industry which had been highly successful and have run safe nuclear industries. She compared that position with the industry in the Soviet Union which is under public ownership. The noble Baroness forgot to mention the fact that the French run a nuclear industry under public control. The Government, no doubt justifiably, often praise that industry because it delivers nuclear power at a very reasonable cost, for whatever reason. It clouds the issue to suggest that an industry under public ownership is bad and that an industry under private ownership is good. There is more to it than that.
One of the major problems in relation to nuclear power is public perception. People are now clearly concerned about the environment and safety in the environment. We saw this concern displayed in the elections on Thursday when some 15 per cent. of the electorate showed that they were concerned about environmental issues. That is a point that the Government ought to consider. It is a matter which the public will want to be considered long and seriously. It is important not only to the industry as a whole but to the future of the nuclear industry that the public should conceive it to be good, clean and under proper public control. I rest my argument, but that is why I believe that the Government should not reject these amendments out of hand. They should accept that there is a new public perception that they have not taken note of and that they should go away and consider this in the light of what has been said on all sides of the Committee. I hope that the Government will consider this matter very seriously. If they do so, in spite of some speeches we have heard from the opposite side of the Committee, everyone throughout the country would be very relieved.
§ Viscount Torrington
I had the great privilege of serving with the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, on Sub-Committee F, or B as it now is, for a number of years. I developed a great regard for his knowledge, wit and wisdom. Perhaps I may coin a phrase in saying that he is slightly barking up the wrong pylon today. Essentially his proposal is to create three companies. Instead of big G and little G we shall have nuclear G and two little fossil Gs. A short while ago he spoke about the fact that nuclear power within big G as presently planned will be cross-subsidised by coal. Under his proposal I find this slightly worrying, because a rule of business is always diversification. I would not wish to be running a one-technology company—one that made its product by only one method when there were others available.
I believe that today the future of coal-fired generation is worrying. Not only have we seen the vulnerability to strikes and mining problems, but costs will rise dramatically in the near future because of desulphurisation being applied. Even when the emissions from coal-fired stations are desulphurised, a number of other nasty things come out. The noble Lord, Lord Marshall, is rather fond of saying that 28 there is more radioactivity emitted from a coal-fired power station in one year than should ever come out of a nuclear power station.
Essentially what comes out of a coal-fired power station is carbon dioxide. As every schoolboy knows, over millions of years coal seams are the remains of fossil forests where carbon dioxide was fixed as fixed carbon. By burning coal today we are releasing it back into the atmosphere. We decry the burning of forests in the third world, but the CEGB effectively burns millions of acres of forests every year. As the noble Lord, Lord Peston, said the other day, the alternatives of wind and tide power have immense environmental problems. We are left with only the two alternatives, of nuclear and of coal power. To separate these, with a state-owned nuclear industry, would mean that in not too many years' time we may end up effectively with state ownership of the entire industry, because coal-fired generation has had to stop in Europe.
Before I sit down let me say that I welcome my noble friend's intervention in this matter earlier on to say that the Government will give a measure of insurance to the costs of waste disposal, and particularly of decommissioning. That is a very welcome development. It is not something that is entirely peculiar to the nuclear industry. The oil industry is also facing problems of abandoning oil and gas facilities. Perhaps the Government would also consider more favourable tax treatment as regards sinking funds for abandonment costs.
I believe that if the nuclear industry is fully privatised in big G today, it will be more responsive and profitable, freed from state interference and, just occasionally, the well-intentioned but not particularly commercial views of eminent scientific interest. I beg that we should reject this amendment.
§ The Earl of Lauderdale
It is time to protest at one aspect of this debate. Just now my noble friend Lady Gardner traduced the motives of at least one noble Lord, if not two, in supporting this amendment. She did the same thing the other day. As I understand parliamentary custom, one may suggest that a noble Lord opposite or on your own side, or a right honourable gentleman, is crazy and stupid, misinformed and misled but one never traduces his motives. I hope that the Committee will accept that what my noble friend said was not intended to be quite as offensive as I believe it seemed.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Baroness Gardner of Parkes
I must respond to that point. My comments as regards motives were purely in a political context. If they are found to be unpleasant, surely that is the whole purpose of this Committee stage. We are here as a political Committee. If the reference is to the other day when I declared an interest in the Bill and hoped that someone else had, that is a different matter. If we have a financial or commercial interest, it is our responsibility to declare it to the Committee. It would be very wrong if the Committee was not aware of it. I consider the issue raised today to be highly political. As I said, I consider this to be a wrecking amendment. I do not believe that the noble Earl, 29 Lord Halsbury, is opposed to the principle of privatisation of electricity in general, but I am not convinced that others are greatly for it. Therefore my comments today are purely political and not personal. I believe that the noble Earl is out of order in what he said on this point.
§ The Earl of Lauderdale
In view of what my noble friend has said, I withdraw my remarks. I apologise without qualification, but that is how I understood what she was saying.
Are we not debating these amendments as a group? Therefore it is important to get back to the main issues before the Committee. The Government's promise of an amendment to the schedule to be moved on Report is an interesting piece of news. It is in very general terms and we cannot tell now whether it goes to the heart of the matter.
The heart of the matter today is whether or not, as a council of state representing wise men, or old men, and women of this country, we want to put nuclear power wholly into the private sector. It may be that we do. But I have great reservations about it and it is only right that they should be stated. As I understand this group of amendments, they have two objects. The first is to make sure that England and Wales enjoy the same position as that to be enjoyed by my native Scotland in having a single nuclear company directly focused on nuclear power alone. It is interesting that in that regard the Select Committee on Energy in the other place drew attention to the matter and said it could not understand the Government's motives for providing a different recipe for England and Wales.
The second object is this. Are we quite sure that the nuclear element ultimately will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny? Here the genie is out of the bottle. We do not know where nuclear power is going to lead us. There have been disasters and there could be others. Politics apart, is it really prudent to put nuclear power wholly at the disposal of private enterprise? First, it means that it is under the control of a company that will put profits first. I am for profits in general, but I am not for profits in the Army or in the public services, and I regard this industry as a public service. Private enterprise must put profits first. In turn that is bound to lead—indeed we have already been told that it will lead—to cutbacks in research and development. That is a matter that your Lordships' Select Committee on Science and Technology is very anxious about. Even now we have not had a proper answer from the Government.
The pursuit of profit must lead at some point to cost shaving and staff economies. We are told, and my noble friend has said this afternoon, that the part of the CEGB which it is at present intended should take charge of nuclear power will inherit the CEGB's staff. The successor company has already said that it will cut staff. It may well be that it will cut back on everyone except the clever people. It may be that the future nuclear element in the successor company will be staffed by people with double firsts. However, the trouble in the nuclear industry, and indeed in the chemical industry where terrible disasters have happened, has been that brainy lunatics have been 30 fiddling about with mechanisms which they did not design and which they did not fully understand. We need to be certain that whoever looks after nuclear power will ensure that there is continuing design knowledge alongside the generation of profits. It is the primacy of profits which is alarming in this whole business.
The proposal is simply that the Government should hold on to 51 per cent. Under this group of amendments 49 per cent. will still be available to the public. This system operates with BP. It is a sensible arrangement, it has been well tried and could be repeated here. My noble friend suggested that this is a wrecking amendment. It depends on what one means by "a wrecking amendment". An amendment that gets the thing right at the cost of delay is surely more important than getting the thing wrong in a hurry. One of the dangers of our legislative process is that we do things in a hurry. We have a time limit. We believe that we must get so many things out of the way before the next election. That does not necessarily result in good legislation. I ask whether, for our children and grandchildren, we are prepared, hand on heart, to turn nuclear power over to private enterprise without parliamentary control and scrutiny. I am not so prepared; therefore I support this group of amendments.
The Earl of Halsbury
Perhaps I may reassure the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, about one point. We on the Cross-Benches have no political motives. If I were suspected for one moment of having a political motive it is most unlikely that the Secretary of State would have asked me to come and discuss his views.
§ Baroness Hooper
I am sure that we all recognise the justice of those remarks. I feel that I should explain again my reason for intervening earlier. I did so to enable those who have anxieties to realise that the Government are willing to do something about these unascertainable costs which are so difficult to anticipate at this stage. It is a real concern to some people. I am glad that this proposal for action was supported by so many of my noble friends, including my noble friends Lord Erroll, Lord Renton and Lord Gray of Contin, all of whom speak from backgrounds of considerable experience in the electricity supply industry.
I said at the outset that powerful arguments had been advanced in favour of the amendments. I believe now that my noble friends have raised powerful arguments against them. I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, that in making my argument I did not say that all was bad in the public sector. I was endeavouring to show, in the face of the anxieties and concerns, that there are benefits to be gained by transferring nuclear to the private sector together with the rest of the generating industry. We believe that the framework we have created will provide a strong basis for an efficient nuclear power industry with a long-term future. That industry will be adequately and closely regulated by government, particularly in the safety and environmental fields. I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Gray of Contin who pointed out that 31 the separation of regulation from ownership is a decided plus factor. At this point perhaps I should say that my noble friend Lord Lauderdale has been approaching scaremongering in suggesting that safety standards, research and development and the like would suffer.
As I was chided by the noble Lord, Lord Williams, for not speaking specifically to the amendments themselves I shall take the opportunity to say that Amendment No. 224H seems to achieve little other than to give the Secretary of State the power to direct that the transfer scheme should be in terms which provide for a separate nuclear company. This is unnecessary. The transfer scheme will require the approval of the Secretary of State. It will therefore have to be framed in terms which are acceptable to him and are consistent with the legislation.
Amendments Nos. 226ZA and 228AA would prevent the Secretary of State disposing of more than 49 per cent. of ordinary voting shares in either that company or the Scottish nuclear company. They do not force the Secretary of State to exercise the voting rights which he will retain; so he could decide not to if he so wished. For the various reasons I have given I trust that the Committee will reject the amendments when the appropriate time arrives.
§ Lord Beaverbrook
I agree that this is a wrecking amendment. Not only will the amendments wreck the Bill; the result of them will be to wreck the nuclear industry. I agree with my noble friend Lord Torrington that that will enable us to carry on wrecking the ozone layer and the atmosphere. Until a miracle such as cold fusion comes to exist we have to go on using sources of power that are not ideal. However, we must use those which we believe to be the cleanest available.
The continuing burning of fossil fuel will not be acceptable into the next century. I feel that the future of the nuclear generation industry will be much more secure and that the industry will be run better in the private sector. Of course the Government must continue to have a real role in regulating safety in the industry. Over the years the Government have had a good record in the regulation of safety, whether in the air or on the sea; and even on the railways. One day there will be greater separation there between ownership and regulation. Health and safety have on the whole been a good story in this country.
§ Lord Renton
I agree with my noble friend but it is worth mentioning that far more lives have been lost through accidents in coal mines, in spite of all the efforts made to achieve safety, than have been lost through nuclear accidents.
§ Lord Beaverbrook
I agree with my noble friend, but I do not believe that the presence of the Secretary of State as the sole shareholder in any of these industries will make a huge diference to safety. We cannot get away from that.
I agree with everything that my noble friend Lord Torrington said. I hope that my noble friend the 32 Minister will stand absolutely firm in her line on these amendments.
§ Lord Williams of Elvel
Does the noble Baroness wish to give her third winding-up speech, or shall I give my second? I wound up earlier when the noble Baroness treated us most courteously to an extensive declaration of government policy. Since that time there have been many interventions from noble Lords opposite. I do not question their motives; they may or may not be political. However, part of them were certainly to the point and part, if I may say so without mentioning names, were wide of the issue which we are discussing here. We are discussing the question of whether the nuclear industry should in some form or other remain under public control and what sort of mechanism is needed to achieve that aim.
The noble Baroness set out the Government's arguments perfectly sensibly in her first winding-up speech: the Government's position is absolutely rooted to the spot, and in my view there is no point in further debate on the matter. Therefore, I wish to seek the opinion of the Committee.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 224H) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 107; Not-Contents, 126.33
|DIVISION NO. 1|
|Addington, L.||Halsbury, E. [Teller.]|
|Airedale, L.||Hampton, L.|
|Allen of Abbeydale, L.||Hanworth, V.|
|Amherst, E.||Harris of Greenwich, L.|
|Ardwick, L.||Hatch of Lusby, L.|
|Aylestone, L.||Hayter, L.|
|Barnett, L.||Hirshfield, L.|
|Birk, B.||Howie of Troon, L.|
|Blyth, L.||Hylton-Foster, B.|
|Bonham-Carter, L.||Jacques, L.|
|Boston of Faversham, L.||Jeger, B.|
|Bottomley, L.||Jenkins of Hillhead, L.|
|Briginshaw, L.||Jenkins of Putney, L.|
|Bruce of Donington, L.||Kilmarnock, L.|
|Burton of Coventry, B.||Kinloss, Ly.|
|Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.||Kirkhill, L.|
|Carter, L.||Lauderdale, E.|
|Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.||Leatherland, L.|
|Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.||Listowel, E.|
|David, B.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.|
|Davies of Penrhys, L.|
|Dean of Beswick, L.||Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.|
|Denington, B.||Macaulay of Bragar, L.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||McIntosh of Haringey, L.|
|Dormand of Easington, L.||McNair, L.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L.||Mason of Barnsley, L.|
|Ennals, L.||Mayhew, L.|
|Ewart-Biggs, B.||Milverton, L.|
|Ezra, L.||Monson, L.|
|Falkender, B.||Mulley, L.|
|Falkland, V.||Nicol, B.|
|Fisher of Rednal, B.||Northfield, L.|
|Gallacher, L.||Ogmore, L.|
|Galpern, L.||Peston, L.|
|Gladwyn, L.||Peyton of Yeovil, L.|
|Graham of Edmonton, L.||Pitt of Hampstead, L.|
|Grey, E.||Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]|
|Porritt, L.||Somers, L.|
|Prys-Davies, L.||Stallard, L.|
|Rathcreedan, L.||Stoddart of Swindon, L.|
|Rea, L.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Ritchie of Dundee, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Rochester, L.||Thurso, V.|
|Russell, E.||Tordoff, L.|
|Sainsbury, L.||Turner of Camden, B.|
|Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.||Underhill, L.|
|Seear, B.||Wallace of Coslany, L.|
|Seebohm, L.||Walston, L.|
|Sefton of Garston, L.||White, B.|
|Serota, B.||Williams of Elvel, L.|
|Shannon, E.||Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.|
|Shepherd, L.||Winstanley, L.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Home of the Hirsel, L.|
|Allerton, L.||Hood, V.|
|Annaly, L.||Hooper, B.|
|Arran, E.||Johnston of Rockport, L.|
|Atholl, D.||Joseph, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Killearn, L.|
|Beaverbrook, L.||Kimball, L.|
|Bellhaven and Stenton, L.||Layton, L.|
|Beloff, L.||Long, V.|
|Belstead, L.||Lyell, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||McAlpine of West Green, L|
|Birdwood, L.||Mackay of Clashfern, L.|
|Blatch, B.||Macleod of Borve, B.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, L.||Malmesbury, E.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.||Mancroft, L.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Manton, L.|
|Butterworth, L.||Margadale, L.|
|Caithness, E.||Marley, L.|
|Campbell of Alloway, L.||Marshall of Leeds, L.|
|Campbell of Croy, L.||Merrivale, L.|
|Carnock, L.||Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Cayzer, L.||Morris, L.|
|Chelmer, L.||Mottistone, L.|
|Clitheroe, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Cockfield, L.||Nelson, E.|
|Coleraine, L.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Colnbrook, L.||Onslow, E.|
|Constantine of Stanmore, L.||Oppenheim-Barnes, B.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Orkney, E.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Cox, B.||Oxfuird, V.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Portland, D.|
|Davidson, V. [Teller.]||Quinton, L.|
|Deedes, L.||Reay, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Renton, L.|
|Derwent, L.||Renwick, L.|
|Dilhorne, V.||Richardson, L.|
|Dundee, E.||Rippon of Hexham, L.|
|Eccles, V.||Rodney, L.|
|Eden of Winton, L.||Romney, E.|
|Elibank, L.||St. Germans, E.|
|Elton, L.||Sanderson of Bowden, L.|
|Erroll of Hale, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Faithfull, B.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Fanshawe of Richmond, L.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Foley, L.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.|
|Fraser of Carmyllie, L.|
|Fraser of Kilmorack, L.||Strathspey, L.|
|Gainford, L.||Swansea, L.|
|Gardner of Parkes, B.||Teviot, L.|
|Gisborough, L.||Thomas of Gwydir, L.|
|Glenarthur, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Gray of Contin, L.||Torrington, V.|
|Gridley, L.||Trafford, L.|
|Grimthorpe, L.||Trumpington, B.|
|Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Vaux of Harrowden, L.|
|Harvington, L.||Westbury, L.|
|Havers, L.||Whitelaw, V.|
|Hemphill, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Henley, L.||Wise, L.|
|Hereford, Bp.||Wolfson, L.|
|Hesketh, L.||Young of Graffham, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ Moved accordingly, and, On Question, Motion agreed to.